Baked Eggplant with Lentils
There is nothing more relaxing and refreshing than the sound of rain, it just seems to make everything better. After the dry summer that most of the country has been experiencing, I can only imagine that for many the rain is a welcoming relief. I had originally been planning to spend this weekend switching out the garden and starting some fall vegetables, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas and now I’m wondering if I’ll have a chance to plant the fall garden at all! This summer has been the craziest and busiest summer I’ve ever had, and it’s not over yet. I’m looking forward to October and the chance to rest, relax, and recover assuming that October allows for that. Until then, my kitchen will be my safe haven since it isn’t large enough to house a clock or calendar.
Since Joe and I have been traveling so much the past few weeks my trips to the grocery store have been few and far between. I have been focusing on using my pantry basics in addition to the fresh vegetables I’ve been growing. This recipe features the first of my Black Beauty Eggplants as well as some more delicious tomatoes and fresh herbs. When I started cooking I really had no idea where I was going with this recipe, which was evident by the large cast of characters I had sitting on the counters. I thought about sauting the eggplant with some basil and serving over lentils, or doing an all-eggplant stir-fry. In the end I decided to bake the eggplant and serve the lentils over them as a thick ragu style sauce. The result was a very filling and rich dinner that only needed a small salad to go with it, perfection!
1 large eggplant, cut 1/2 in thick length wise
1 egg, beaten
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp EVOO
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 vidalia onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes, diced
handful of basil, roughly torn
1 cup red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
- Place the eggplant in a large bowl and toss with salt, move eggplant to colander and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 then rinse the eggplant and do a quick press to get as much water out as possible.
- In a small bowl combine the cornmeal, bread crumbs, cheese, pepper, and salt. Dip the eggplant in the egg before placing in the small bowl and covering with the dry mixture. Place on cookie sheet, bake for 15minutes then flip and cook for a final 10minutes.
- Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cover and cook for 10minutes, stirring occasionally to help break up the tomatoes. Add the basil with the lentils, toss well and then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a quick boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Allow lentils to cook for 15-20minutes, or until reaching the desired tenderness. Serve the lentils over the eggplant and enjoy!
This recipe comes together pretty quickly once the eggplant has been salted. For an alternate way of prepping the eggplant, press the cut slices between two plates lined with paper towels. Failure to properly pre-treat the eggplant can result in a bitter aftertaste, which is probably why more than a few people have been turned off of this amazing vegetable.